Note: On January 2014, Open SUNY was started with a full roll-out to happen in September 2014. This post reflects on their online strategy as a university and calls for CUNY to begin to address hybrid/online from a university perspective.
It’s official. SUNY has re-branded, restructured, and re-envisioned its SUNY Learning Network (SLN) to Open SUNY. Despite the relative success of its previous online offerings developed over several decades, SUNY has taken the initiative to not rest on its laurels but instead strike out with a bold plan for online teaching and learning. This is what it takes to stay a step ahead in today’s competitive online education marketplace
What does a strategic plan for online look like?
One theme that I have emphasized in this blog is the need for envisioning online learning and developing a strategic plan for implementing that vision. SUNY has done just in the past and even more so recently. In a wonderful public document, SUNY lays out both their vision and plan.
Among the innovative best practices in the Open SUNY initiative include:
- Commitment to offering 400 fully online undergraduate and graduate programs
- Team-based online program development
- University-wide 24/7 student tutoring and technical support
- Vision statement for online learning
- Experiential learning and other engaging pedagogies
- Student “concierge” role to assist students in navigating programs
- Creative partnerships with vendors and publishers
- Prioritization of high-demand programs
- Learning Commons and professional communities of practice
- Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence to support faculty
- Global marketing and reach for online programs.
The SUNY Open program is more than merely the sum of these (and other) parts. Why? SUNY as an institution has been clear that online teaching and learning is a priority. When their Chancellor, Nancy Zimpher, laid down the goal of adding 100,000 new online students in the span of three years, clearly it shows the importance of online learning in their universe.
Upcoming Part 2 Post: Lessons for CUNY